Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE APOSTASY, by THOMAS TRAHERNE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE APOSTASY, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: One star / is better far
Last Line: I lost: my joy turn'd to a blaze.
Variant Title(s): The Apostacy
Subject(s): Innocence


One star
Is better far
Than many precious stones:
One sun, which is above in glory seen,
Is worth ten thousand golden thrones:
A juicy herb, or spire of grass,
In useful virtue, native green,
An emerald doth surpass;
Hath in't more value, tho less seen.


No wars,
Nor mortal jars,
Nor bloody feuds, nor coin,
Nor griefs which they occasion, saw I then;
Nor wicked thieves which this purloin;
I had no thoughts that were impure:
Esteeming both women and men
God's work, I was secure,
And reckon'd peace my choicest gem.


As Eve
I did believe
Myself in Eden set,
Affecting neither gold, nor ermin'd crowns,
Nor ought else that I need forget;
No mud did foul my limpid streams,
No mist eclips'd my sun with frowns;
Set off with heavenly beams,
My joys were meadows, fields, and towns.


Those things
Which cherubins
Did not at first behold
Among God's works, which Adam did not see;
As robes, and stones enchas'd in gold,
Rich cabinets, and such like fine
Inventions; could not ravish me:
I thought not bowls of wine
Needful for my felicity.


All bliss
Consists in this,
To do as Adam did;
And not to know those superficial joys
Which were from him in Eden hid:
Those little new-invented things,
Fine lace and silks, such childish toys
As ribbons are and rings,
Or worldly pelf that us destroys.


For God,
Both great and good,
The seeds of melancholy
Created not: but only foolish men,
Grown mad with customary folly
Which doth increase their wants, so dote
As when they elder grow they then
Such baubles chiefly note;
More fools at twenty years than ten.


But I,
I knew not why,
Did learn among them too
At length; and when I once with blemish'd eyes
Began their pence and toys to view,
Drown'd in their customs, I became
A stranger to the shining skies,
Lost as a dying flame;
And hobby-horses brought to prize.


The sun
And moon forgone,
As if unmade, appear
No more to me; to God and Heaven dead
I was, as tho they never were:
Upon some useless gaudy book,
When what I knew of God was fled,
The child being taught to look,
His soul was quickly murdered.


'O fine!
O most divine!
O brave!' they cried; and show'd
Some tinsel thing whose glittering did amaze,
And to their cries its beauty owed;
Thus I on riches, by degrees,
Of a new stamp did learn to gaze;
While all the world for these
I lost: my joy turn'd to a blaze.

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